Letter from our Co-Chairs
Politics has changed over the last decade. Factors that once were seen as barriers are increasingly, and finally, being recognised as assets, and diverse voices are campaigning for change now more than ever before.
In Australia, the last ten years have seen women hold some of the highest and most powerful offices for the first time: in the Hon. Julie Bishop as the first female Foreign Minister, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce as the first female Governor-General, and the Hon. Julia Gillard as Australia’s first, and at present only, female Prime Minister.
Yet, ephemeral representation at the highest levels of politics is not enough to shift the dial toward gender equality in Australian public life. There is much more work to be done to change the culture that both precludes many young women from getting involved in shaping the world around them, and motivates women already in office to leave politics altogether.
This culture problem in Australian politics is not a new phenomenon. Rather, it is a product of the way politics has evolved from the Old Boys’ Club, and as a result has robbed women of opportunities to hone their advocacy skills in the same way as their male peers. In 2020, as Australia faced battles on multiple fronts, from bushfires, pandemics, and protests, to the economic recession, it was clear that women were not in the rooms where responses to crises were created. The acute need to empower women to enter politics was the driving force behind She Runs, which launched in 2020.
Our mission is to diversify politics by giving West Australian women, and particularly youth, the skills they need to get into, and thrive in, public life.
In the first year of She Runs, we graduated 23 diverse Fellows through our inaugural Campaign School, created dozens of networking events connecting Fellows with local and national representatives, and advanced research on the barriers to entering politics for Australian women.
Our hope is that they will take the skills and connections that we equip them with into the public arena at every level.
We will build upon what we started over the next twelve months. Our future will include graduating the second cohort of Fellows through the Campaign School, expanding the Campaign School to regional Western Australia to empower women from every part of the state to enter public life, and delivering more networking events through She Runs Thursdays.
Our dream is that our efforts will irrevocably improve the culture and composition of Australian politics.
We are striving toward our goals by living our values at every turn. From our unwavering commitment to our cohort and their needs, ensuring diversity in our programming is substantive and not tokenistic, being curious, to having the courage to dare - we are what we say, and we say what we do.
She Runs' future is busy and bright. What's more, it's true what they say - the future is FEMALE.
Martina & Jess
Read our 2020 Annual Report here >>>